Parish trip to the Dominican Republic, June 16- 21
Opened in 2003, NPH Dominican Republic is located 40 miles east of Santo Domingo, the nation’s capital and largest city. Casa Santa Ana was constructed from 2004-2005 and has small group homes, each with its own kitchen and garden. The site is currently home to more than 200 children and also has a primary school, a farm, a clinic, a church and sports fields.
We were blessed to have a visit from Jean Francois Seide, a graduate pequeno from the NPH home in Haiti. This year St Julia’s parish is partnering with NPH, (Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos means our little brothers and sisters) in Caribbean and Central American Nations to support vulnerable children. This is an excerpt from one of his recent talks:
Life before NPH:
- I lost my parents when I was 3 years old. I was lucky to have aunts who cared for me until I was 7 but just like any other poor Haitian child who loses their parents, school was not an option. I lived in the country side with my aunts and worked in the field. My aunts were getting old and couldn’t work any longer. I had to go, if I wanted to have a successful life as they’d wished. I joined the NPH family when I was 7. I did not know nor did I understand what it would mean to go to a home like NPH.
- When I got to NPH, I had all that a child could wish for, food, shower, healthcare, security, and education. At NPH, education is essential.
Life after NPH:
- When the January 2010 earthquake hit I was in my room watching tv with my roommate and a friend who was visiting. As we stayed still, we felt as if the bed was shaking. We paused and looked at each as the intensity was increasing. Five seconds later, I decided to run outside and my friends followed me. We had barely made it in time. As we were running out, the stairs were already falling off. We all three made it alive and were thankful for it.
- To express my gratitude, I went to the NPH hospital to help those in dire need. I worked for almost a month at the Radiology Room doing X-rays. The NPH hospital, though a pediatric hospital was full of patients of all ages. We had to adjust our services and use the doctors who came to help to provide the service the people need.
- A couple weeks later, I left the hospital to help start the Father Wasson Angels of Light Program, where we built 19 day camps all around Port-au-Prince, the capital city to help the kids from the earthquake with trauma, and also give their parents a break to go work and look for food.
- We operated as daycares and provided food and any donations we received from abroad (clothes, water, food, etc). What we noticed in our day camps, was that some of the kids who came did not want to leave. We learned that it was not that they didn’t want to leave, they had nowhere to go. They had lost their parents. So we used the containers from the donations to build homes for those kids to stay, and built a school for the children in the community. This school still exists and is still providing free education for more than 2,000 children.
- We are expanding and trying to provide the best education for our children. We plan to build and library and a computer lab. These two projects will help our children to have a competitive advantage in the job market after they graduate. It is true now that they ask you to know computer skills in some jobs, but after couple years from now, they will assume that you know how to use a computer. We want to prepare our children for those eventualities.
- The children who come to our schools are from the poorest regions in the country, thus having the skills to use a computer will help them later in life to break the cycle of poverty
.Education is the only way to break the cycle of poverty….
- After my involvement with this program, I applied to one of NPH’s international leadership programs and was accepted to go to Seattle for a full school year where I studied English and took leadership classes and volunteered at different organizations. Before the year was over, I was accepted for another scholarship at the University of Portland to study business administration. This scholarship was in honor of Molly Hightower, a university of Portland student who died in Haiti during the earthquake. She was working with NPH at the time. Her friend organized a scholarship in her name and I was the first recipient of that scholarship. We have another student who is going to graduate this May.
- Scholarships are important for people like me who would not otherwise ever have a quality education. After my graduation from the University of Portland, I applied for a master of public policy at the University of Oxford and got accepted and was offered a scholarship. I graduated from Oxford 2 years ago, and decided to go back to Haiti to work in the international development sector.
- It is thanks to the support of NPH and all those who support NPH that I was able to have my education. They helped me take the first step and now and I am now making the rest myself. The help you give to NPH goes a long way in helping children, just like me, to be successful in their lives and break the cycle of poverty.